IT may have caused years of frustration, made Edinburgh the butt of jokes around the world and ended up costing twice the price for only half the route, but now the city’s tram project has been included on a “must-see” list for visitors to the Capital.
The £776 million scheme is named as one of the best things to do in Edinburgh in a new online guide. Others include enjoying the view from Edinburgh Castle, climbing up the Scott Monument and strolling through the Meadows, taking in a film at the Cameo cinema and visiting the Scottish National Gallery. Also recommended are sampling a cocktail at trendy New Town bar Bramble, shopping in Victoria Street, dining at a Michelin-star restaurant, and enjoying a night out at arts venues such as the Traverse Theatre and Summerhall.
Trams finally started running between York Place and Edinburgh Airport at the end of May – more than seven years after work first started. But they attracted 1.5 million passengers in their first 100 days. The guide admits the tram is still a “sore point”. But it adds: “It’s almost certain to be a topic of conversation in any bar or shop you visit along its route – make sure you have a go on it so you’re fully equipped for the debate.”
Business expert Graham Birse, of Edinburgh Napier University, said: “It wouldn’t be on my list of 20 essential things to do in the city. A few pints in the Bow Bar and a trip out to Murrayfield is much more of a real Edinburgh experience.”
Michael Apter, director of West End gift shop Paper Tiger and vice-chair of the local traders’ association, said: “I suspect Time Out is having a bit of a joke at Edinburgh’s expense.”
Tom Norris, general manager of Edinburgh Trams, said: “It is great Time Out has listed us as one of the top 20 great things to do in Edinburgh.”
City transport leader Lesley Hinds added: “I’m delighted to see trams highlighted as a ‘must do’ experience.”
Best Things to do in Edinburgh according to Time Out
• Go on a shopping spree in Victoria Street: “The long curve of Victoria Street swoops from George IV Bridge down to the historic Grassmarket, and is home to Edinburgh’s finest selection of independent boutiques.”
• Wash your face in the dew of Arthur’s Seat: “On May Day, it’s traditional for young women to wash their face with the hill’s morning dew to make them beautiful, though we’d argue it’s a bracing start to the day at any time of the year.”
• Take a stroll through the Meadows: “A relaxing, airy alternative to the rushing traffic and labyrinthine wynds of the Old Town, the Meadows also connects the city centre with the calmer suburbs of the South Side, home to many a deli, cafe and boutique.”
• Scale the Scott Monument: “Its sooty spire a throwback to Auld Reekie’s polluted past, the Scott Monument (dedicated to the memory of Sir Walter Scott) is a gothic marvel puncturing the well-manicured greenery of Princes Street Gardens.”
• Have a chuckle at The Stand: “Rightly considered the leading light of the Scottish comedy scene, The Stand is just as likely to have old hands like Frankie Boyle and Stewart Lee practising new material as it is rising stars treading the comedic boards for the first time.”
• Watch a play at the Traverse: “Edinburgh’s not short on theatrical ventures – its annual hosting of the world’s biggest arts festival makes sure of that – but in terms of promoting Scotland’s best and brightest dramatic talent year-round, the Traverse leads the pack.”